Preventing hip pain and alleviating the early symptoms of osteoarthritis can be as simple as stretches, exercise, and over-the-counter medication. However, hip pain is often progressive, worsening as you age.
A good treatment regimen can postpone the need for a procedure, but it’s important to know when to begin considering a hip resurfacing or total replacement.
At Orthopaedics of Atlanta and Aesthetic Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, W. Joseph Absi, MD, and his team of professionals can thoroughly evaluate your hip and determine if you’re a candidate for hip replacement or whether another treatment option will better serve your health and mobility needs.
Understanding hip pain
The most common cause of hip pain is osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative condition that causes inflammation. While it’s most often caused by general wear and tear, certain factors can put you at risk of developing hip osteoarthritis earlier in life. These include:
- Physical stress, including during high-impact sports and manual labor
- Hip injuries earlier in life
- Abnormalities of the hip joint
- Genetics, which contribute to, but don’t cause OA
Early hip pain is often mild and transient, coming and going. You might feel fine but experience stiffness and pain later that same day.
As the inflammation continues and your hip joint begins to deteriorate, this pain gradually worsens. Treatment can slow OA’s progress and lessen your symptoms, but surgical intervention is sometimes inevitable.
When to consider surgery
Hip surgery is a big commitment, but deciding to go through with it might save you pain down the line. Many people postpone their surgeries until they’re absolutely necessary, putting themselves through unnecessary pain and disability in the meantime.
A hip replacement isn’t your only option, either. While total replacement has its benefits, some patients might benefit more from hip resurfacing, a slightly less invasive procedure.
A total hip replacement involves the removal of the femoral head and acetabulum. These are replaced with a metal ball and socket, separated by a plastic spacer. The plastic improves glide, reduces shock, and prevents ion reactions — which sometimes occur after hip resurfacing.
Hip resurfacing is a similar concept to a total replacement. During a traditional hip replacement, the top part of the femur is removed and replaced. A resurfacing caps the femur instead, allowing for a faster recovery and more stable movement.
This makes it appealing to younger patients who want to maintain a more active lifestyle after surgery.
To determine whether hip surgery is right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Absi by calling 404-334-2919, or request an appointment online.